16. Take care of the ground around the tree

A tree’s roots are hidden under the soil and often ignored. Roots provide our trees with water and act as a critical anchor. Simply stated, healthy roots make for a healthy tree.

Areas of Interest: Looking Around, Physical Labor
Ingredients: Gloves, hoe, wood chips, shovel, water
Remove grass from area around tree trunk: Grass likes to keep invading plants out, including your trees. It does this by releasing aleopathic chemicals, which kill small plants and inhibit the growth of your trees. Using a hoe or a shovel, remove the grass in a circle 3′ to 4′ from the trunk of the tree.
Place mulch around the base of a tree: Keep the tree’s roots moist! Place a ring of wood chips1 or other organic mulch around the tree. The mulch ring should be 4″ to 6″ deep, two feet wide, and not touch the trunk of the tree (this will lead to rot).
Practice deep watering during warm, dry months: Roots seek water. Deep roots come from deep watering. Water a tree slowly, letting the water soak into the ground. Place a hose by the trunk, turn on a slow trickle and leave it for several hours. Repeat this once a week. (Check the soil one-foot deep before watering if it seems the ground is saturated.)